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AARP State Director Bill Johnston Walsh, Community member and PA Secretary of Aging Brian Duke serving up food during lunchtime for residents of the On Lok House, local Chinese senior center in Philadelphia.

Faith Leaders

Religious leaders and community members gathered recently to learn more about AARP’s engagement within the African-American community in Philadelphia.   AARP and the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging (PCA) hosted the diverse group of  over 50 interfaith leaders throughout the city.  The meeting included pastors, ministers, and ministry leaders collectively representing an estimated 12,000 congregation members throughout Philadelphia.

Remarks offered by AARP State Director, Bill Johnston- Walsh and special AARP National consultant for Interfaith Outreach, Reverend D. Scruggs educated attendees on national and state priorities of importance for AARP members and the 50+ population in Pennsylvania.  “The faith based community plays a major role in our city for education and improving the quality of life for their members”, says Johnston- Walsh.

The AARP interfaith meeting encouraged partnership opportunities among the leaders and the local AARP office.  They received information on how to build a collaborative relationship with the AARP state office and how to effectively promote AARP memberships among congregation members.

PA Aging Secretary Working with AARP

In 2012 Governing Magazine held a symposium for leaders across the state of Pennsylvania discussing best practices and challenges in creating age-friendly cities for the community design model.  As follow-up to the 2012 meeting, attendee, Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging, Brian Duke asked AARP leaders to organize an exploratory tour of Philadelphia’s China Town section to learn about aging issues and city planning initiatives for Chinatown’s 50+ population.  AARP was instrumental in connecting Secretary Duke to important community leaders within the Asian American community in Philadelphia who influence local policy and city planning.

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Executive Director, John Chin, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation leads walking tour for PA Secretary of Aging Brian Duke on local planning for Chinatown’s aging population.

The Chinatown exploratory tour visited a prominent Asian senior center, where Pennsylvania. State Director Bill Johnston -Walsh and staff joined Secretary Duke in preparing meals for the residents and members at this facility. Philadelphia Mayor’s Deputy Managing Director in Aging, Lydia Hernandez- Velez joined the leaders of the community groups such as the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation shared cultural sensitivities in Asian communities and recommendations for policy to improve services to older adults.

Leaders of community groups such as the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation shared cultural sensitivities in Asian communities and recommendations for policy to improve services to older adults.

Unique Utilities presentation to educate the Asian Community

AARP Philadelphia gave an in-language (all Chinese) utilities presentation on Saturday, May 11, 2013.   A free program by AARP Pennsylvania’s outstanding consumer advocate Sonny Popowsky, former Consumer Advocate of Pennsylvania gave the unique presentation, having two interpreters in Mandarin and Cantonese.   The educational presentation on Utilities  gave relevant information to the community  on how to lower their monthly utility costs by focusing on utility options and how to choose an electricity provider in this very challenging post-deregulation environment.  Despite the language bearer, the 157 attendees were engaged, and very appreciative that AARP PASO cares to deliver educational presentations to the Asian Community, a way  to help prevent the victimization of seniors .